Decapeptide-12 Research

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Research

Decapeptide-12 is an anti-tyrosinase peptide. The peptide inhibits the activities of tyrosinase, an enzyme that catalyzes the production of melanin and other pigments.[1] According to research “tyrosinase activity and melanin production in most light-skinned people is controlled primarily by a post-translational regulation of pre-existing enzyme and not by regulating tyrosinase gene activity.” As a result, skin tone and texture are improved. The peptide clinically increases pigmentation removal in different skin types while avoiding irritation. Along with other treatments, Decapeptide-12 can treat mild to moderate hyperpigmentation. Such as sun and age spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and melasma.

On the other hand, tyrosinase is present in plant and animal cells, where it aids the catalyzation of melanin. And other pigment production. The peptide also aids dihydroxyphenylalanine catalysis. Decapeptide-12 fosters the catalysis of the first two steps in the biochemical synthesis of melanin and is expressed by melanocytes. Notably, tyrosinase can be in melanosomes-synthesized in the melanocytes.

Type I oculocutaneous a lack of tyrosinase causes albinism. In contrast, skin hyperpigmentation is caused by melanin synthesis. It is also caused by a mutation that causes tyrosinase to become overactive. Decapeptide-12, a Tyrosinase inhibitor, is of interest to the medical and cosmetic industries because it is both therapeutic and can improve the function of the enzyme cascade of pigment production. 



  • How Does Decapeptide-12 Inhibit Tyrosinase? And its Benefits: Decapeptide-12 inhibits tyrosinase activities by reversibly binding to tyrosinase in several pigment-producing cells.[2] The peptide prevents the oxidation of phenols by tyrosinase, the first step in melanin production. Tyrosinase is primarily found in melanosomes—unique parts within cells that produce pigments. Tyrosinase varies in structure according to species or even in closely related species. The difference in tyrosinase efficiency in humans determines skin color and is the consequence of modifications in TYR genes on chromosomes.
  • The Roles of Decapeptide-12 in Food Industries: Decapeptide-12 has proven to be a potential flavor and preservative enhancer. Tyrosinase aids the oxidation of phenolic compounds in fruits and vegetables to quinones (i.e., what turns potato black after it is sliced). This conversion causes food to have a terrible taste and color. This conversion can cause some kinds of proteins to be harder to digest and decrease the nutritional value of the food.
  • The Role of Decapeptide-12 in Insects: Tyrosinase peptide inhibitors like Decapeptide-12 are considered potent insecticides because they inhibit tyrosinase’s activities in insects. Tyrosinase acts to heal wounds, parasite encapsulation, and develop an insect’s exoskeleton. Therefore, the inhibition of tyrosinase will hamper its activities in insects leading to an insect’s death.
  • The Roles of Decapeptide-12 in the Skin: Decapeptide-12 reduces skin pigmentation efficiently, according to research in animal models aimed at determining its safety and effectiveness in melasma (Photodamage). According to studies, approximately 40% of the subjects in the experiment developed standard skin tone (a 100% decrement of pigmentation-hyperpigmentation). About 15% of the patients with grade 3 photodamage had a turnaround and moved into grade 1 photodamage. Individuals with severe photodamage (photodamage grade 4) received only minor repairs, lowering them to photodamage grade 3. This was evident after a minimum of twelve weeks of using Decapeptide-12.[3]

The administration of Decapeptide-12 (topical) to nearly all Melasma (photodamage) patients results in remarkable changes in skin tone.[4]

According to research, Decapeptide-12 is 17 times more effective than previous hyperpigmentation therapies.[5] Studies report that “This inhibition partially depended on whether L-dopa or L-tyrosine was the substrate, suggesting that tyrosinase may contain contains two distinct catalytic sites.” Including hydroquinone, with no evidence of melanocyte damage. Clinical studies in cultured melanocytes for more than seven days revealed a 27% – 43% decrease in melanin content.

Applying Decapeptide-12 to the skin beneath the eye can reduce dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and inflammation. Due to this, the skin under the eyes appears brighter, more refined, and smoother, giving a more youthful appearance.

Decapeptide-12 synergizes with Glycolic acid to remove the dead stratum corneum layers concentrated with hyperpigmented cells. Therefore, stimulating the skin’s natural turnover process.

Decapeptide-12 may be an effective sunscreen because it protects the skin from hyperpigmentation. This is possible by preventing UV rays from reaching the skin’s sensitive layers and shielding the skin from the harmful interaction of UV rays with melanocytes, thereby preventing the spread of new damage.

Disclaimer: The products mentioned are not intended for human or animal consumption. Research chemicals are intended solely for laboratory experimentation and/or in-vitro testing. Bodily introduction of any sort is strictly prohibited by law. All purchases are limited to licensed researchers and/or qualified professionals. All information shared in this article is for educational purposes only.



  1. Iozumi, K., Hoganson, G. E., Pennella, R., Everett, M. A. & Fuller, B. B. Role of tyrosinase as the determinant of pigmentation in cultured human melanocytes. J. Invest. Dermatol. 100, 806–811 (1993).
  2. Chen J, Bian J, Hantash BM, et al. Enhanced skin retention and permeation of a novel peptide via structural modification, chemical enhancement, and microneedles. Int J Pharm. 2021;606:120868. doi:10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.120868
  3. Kassim, A. T., Hussain, M. & Goldberg, D. J. Open-label evaluation of the skin-brightening efficacy of a skin-brightening system using decapeptide-12. J. Cosmet. Laser Ther. Off. Publ. Eur. Soc. Laser Dermatol. 14, 117–121 (2012).
  4. Hantash, B. M. & Jimenez, F. A split-face, double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled pilot evaluation of a novel oligopeptide for the treatment of recalcitrant melasma. J. Drugs Dermatol. JDD 8, 732–735 (2009).
  5. Abu Ubeid, A., Zhao, L., Wang, Y. & Hantash, B. M. Short-sequence oligopeptides with inhibitory activity against mushroom and human tyrosinase. J. Invest. Dermatol. 129, 2242–2249 (2009)